New Delhi, Jan 31 (PTI) The DMK and the Congress todaydecided to continue their seven-year-old alliance to contestthe forthcoming Assembly polls in Tamil Nadu amid indicationsthat the national party may do some hard bargaining forgetting more seats for itself.
With just four months left for the elections in thestate, Chief Minister M Karunanidhi met Congress chief SoniaGandhi and decided to set up a committee to thrash out themodalities of seat-sharing.
"I met Sonia Gandhi for 45 minutes. As a result, theDMK-Congress coalition is continuing," he told reporters atthe Tamil Nadu House here.
The meeting, which was scheduled to be held in theafternoon took place in the evening, and the decision tocontinue the alliance ended all speculation about any riftbetween the coalition partners in the wake of the 2G spectrumscam which forced A Raja to quit the Union Cabinet.
Karunanidhi said a committee will be formed to discussthe number of seats and the constituencies to be contested byboth parties.
"A committee will be constituted. It will discuss themodalities for seat-sharing. The committee will decide theseats and constituencies of both parties," he said after themeeting, during which DMK Parliamentary Party leader T RBaalu, Textiles Minister Dayanidhi Maran and MP Kanimozhi werepresent.
The DMK chief said the committee members will be soonannounced and it will start discussing the modalities.
The members of the committee will be made public soon,he said. After seat-sharing talks are over the coalition willbe ready for the polls, which are due in May, he said.
Sources said the Congress, which had contested 48 ofthe 234 seats in the state, appears to be in a mood to demandabout 100 and may settle down for about 75 seats.
The Congress'' demand for more seats is understood tobe based on the perception that the DMK''s bargaining may havebeen weakened by the 2G spectrum scam. The Congress may alsolike a share in power if the alliance is voted back foranother term, the sources said.
The DMK is also said to be prepared for some hardbargaining from the Congress. The sources said the alliancewas never in doubt but Karunanidhi wanted a public message ofreaffirmation by his visit and meeting Gandhi.
The Congress and the DMK had entered into an alliancein 2004 and contested the Lok Sabha elections that year, the2006 Assembly elections and the 2009 general electionstogether.
The decision comes a day after Karunanidhi announcedthat PMK will be part of the alliance, but PMK founder SRamadoss said his party has not yet taken any decision on thealliance question. .
Asked about Ramadoss''s statement, Karunanidhi said discussions were on and both the parties have not taken adecision yet.
During the meeting with Gandhi, Karunanidhi isunderstood to have apprised her about the situation in thestate.
A senior Congress leader from Tamil Nadu said theparty expected at least 80 to 90 seats from the state, butadmitted that during the negotiations it would come down to65.
"We hope to get at least 65 seats. We also want theparty to be part of the government if the alliance comes topower. But that decision has to be taken by our president,"the leader said.